Thursday, September 6, 2012

Congratulations, You're The First Customer

Today is September 6. As you can see from the date mark right up yonder. There are, like every day, some notable birthdays and anniversaries- birthdays for Jeff Foxworthy, Pippa Middleton, Chris Christie, Roger Waters, Carly Fiorina, and anniversaries of the Olympic massacre in Munich, Leon Czolgosz assassinating William McKinley, and the independence of Swaziland. Notable to be sure, although really, as dates go, not too impressive a lineup compared to many of the other days of the year.

Yet. Given the importance of women's issues in this upcoming election, there's one anniversary we need to single out.

142 years ago today, on September 6, 1870, Louisa Ann Swain of Laramie, Wyoming, at the time age 69, became the first American woman to legally vote in a general election since 1807 (when unmarried women who owned property stopped being able to vote in New Jersey)- a local municipal election, specifically. It was a matter-of-fact thing; she was running errands and figured, hey, the polling place is right there and why not. The polls weren't actually officially opened yet, but the polling place in turn figured she's right there and why not. So she voted, and then went about her day. That's all she had to do: stop by and take a minute or two out of her day.

In 2008, Congress declared September 6 Louisa Swain Day. There's a statue of her in Laramie, complete with the little pail she was running errands with (she was going out to get yeast) and the state flags outside of a whole entire foundation started in her honor of not only Wyoming, but also Virginia where she was born, and Maryland where she died. That just for showing up and marking a ballot.

What was your excuse for staying home again? I'd love to hear it.

No comments: